Sunday, May 2, 2010

Théâtre de la Mode, part V: Down to the Tiniest Details

In case you haven't been following my occasional series on the Théâtre de la Mode, you might want to start at the beginning (My visit to the Théâtre de la Mode, part I).

Originally the plan was to have Théâtre dolls dressed in miniature versions of haute couture styles with no particular emphasis on accessories. As the couture houses got more involved (more caught up in the project, and also more competitive with one another) it was decided that just as much attention should be paid to all the smaller elements.

At the Maryhill Museum, display cases give a close-up view of some of the tiny accessories (click on the photos for a closer look. Photo, denisebrain)

Tiny shoes were made, along with hats, bags, gloves, umbrellas...the full range of accessories. The tiny umbrellas open, some of the tiny shoes have contrasting trim one millimeter wide. The bags not only open, but are completely fitted inside. The greatest milliners of Paris were called upon to do their work in 1/3-scale size. The greatest coiffeurs of Paris created hair styles using pins and rollers scaled down to the size of the dolls.

(photo, denisebrain)
For the 1946 presentation of the exhibition in New York, tiny fine jewelry was made by Lesage, Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, and Chaumet.

In many cases, what wasn't to be seen was also created: Jackets are lined and quilted; miniature versions of house labels are sewn into items; some dolls even have intricate undergarments.

The purpose of the exhibition was to convince the world that French fashion—every element of it—had survived the War. It seems to me that it couldn't have been more convincing!


Anonymous said...

So intricate and incredible!! my favorite is the little shoes; exquisite!!

denisebrain said...

The shoes floor me, no pun intended— Their intricacy is mind-boggling!